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Western Washington chestnut cultivar and site suggestions?  RSS feed

Robert Swan
Posts: 9
Location: Western WA
forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Hi folks!

I'm planning to plant a chestnut orchard, but I am having trouble choosing the cultivars to plant. I plan to order from Burntridge or Washington Chestnut Co., or a combination of the two. Trees are 20-28$ each for grafted.

I'm planning to stick to grafted european and euro/japanese hybrids, no seedlings.

I don't want to plant chinese or any hybrid chinese that produce pollen, My area doesn't have the blight, and has cool summers and sub-optimal sun so chinese are unlikely to produce much.

I am planning to plant american and hybrid american chestnuts in another location - this area is just for nut production and having a wide variety of cultivars.

A little info about my site - I'm on a shelf that juts out of a north-facing slope in western Wa, with gravelly clay-loam that drains well. I have the option to put in irrigiation and add good soil to the site at planting and over time. The main issue is sun - basically none in the winter, some in fall and spring, and perhaps 6 hours in summer.

I am not looking for industrial nut production - a moderate amount would make me happy, and i would like the trees to grow well and be able to take cuttings. A reliable producer for a cool, short season would perhaps be better than a variety that can produce high volumes but only in a fertile, sunny floodplain.

Additionally, i am trying to decide on planting location. I have a flat patch that gets the best sun, and directly north of that a 30 degree north facing slope that drops about 30 feet.

I would plant the chestnuts on the flat, but as they get large they will then eventually shade the slope and make it unusable for anything that is not shade - tolerant.

I figured on the slope, the chestnuts would eventually "reach up" over the edge by growing upwards, since they will eventually be 60 feet plus, and get the light that way for nut production.

If i do this i may plant Hazelnuts south of them on the flat piece of land since they are short and wouldn't create too much issue shading what's behind them.

Do you think the chestnuts would survive and grow well enough to reach up over the edge? Would they be likely to produce at that point? Or should i sacrifice the slope, find somewhere else for hazelnuts, and plant the chestnuts up on the flat to begin with?

Below are the varieties I'm considering at the moment, if anyone has any experience with these, good or bad, please let me know. I'm trying to narrow my choice down to perhaps 10 or so due to cost. If you see a variety not on the list that you would or would not recommend, please let me know as well!

Belle Epine
Bisalta #2
Bisalta #3
Connecticut Early
Marron Comballe
Marron Di Chuisa Pesio
Marron Di Val Di Susa
Marron Du Var
Precoce Migoule
Silverleaf (Eurobella)
ReginA Montis
RegiS Montis
Bouche De Betizac

Thanks, everyone!
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